have to cook a whole bird FOOD EX­TRA My hang­over cure? bread and but­ter

The Herald Magazine - - Let’s talk turkey You don’t -

LET’S face it, who wants to stuff a turkey? Roast­ing the turkey and all the fuss and palaver that goes with it is surely the most stress­ful part of what should be the best fun day of the year.

Why do we put our­selves through it?

We haven’t cooked a turkey in our house since 1969. My older sis­ter, then aged 14, de­clared she was mak­ing Christ­mas lunch. When she proudly started to carve the golden, crisp skin of the big­gest turkey we had ever seen, she hit a prob­lem.

Af­ter sev­eral failed at­tempts to cut through the skin into the flesh her er­ror slowly dawned on us all.

Though it looked as if she had roasted the bird per­fectly, she had not re­alised she should have de­frosted it first! The mid­dle was still rock solid. When she even­tu­ally man­aged to saw through the flesh, she found a plas­tic bag with the frozen giblets still tucked in­side.

It was hi­lar­i­ously funny, for a few min­utes, un­til one by one it dawned on us as our pa­per hats dropped onto our empty plates that we were get­ting no Christ­mas lunch.

If tack­ling a whole turkey is a bit of a chal­lenge for you, try pan-roast­ing some turkey es­cal­lops in a shal­low fry­ing pan with some sage, Parma ham and white wine.

It makes a tasty meal and is not too rich, leav­ing more space for the Christ­mas pud­ding.

“Sal­tim­bocca” means “jump in your mouth” … lip-smack­ing!

In­gre­di­ents 4 turkey breasts (free-range if pos­si­ble)

sea salt and black pep­per 8 thin slices Parma ham or smoked streaky ba­con 8 fresh sage leaves 2-3 ta­ble­spoons olive oil A small blob but­ter ½ lemon sliced thinly 150ml dry white wine

Juice of the other half lemon

Method

First flat­ten and ten­derise the turkey breasts by lay­ing them be­tween two pieces of cling­film and bash­ing them flat with a rolling pin.

Re­move the cling­film and sea­son the turkey well.

Lay two slices of Parma ham on each breast and use tooth­picks to se­cure two sage leaves and a slice of lemon to each one.

Warm the olive oil and but­ter in a heavy fry­ing pan.

Add the turkey breasts in one layer and cook briskly, turn­ing to brown on each side.

Add the dry white wine and raise the heat to

PRUE Leith is a le­gend. The mind be­hind the pres­ti­gious Lei­ths Cook­ery School, a nov­el­ist and Great Bri­tish Bake Off judge, she’s back with her first cook­book in 25 years.

While the recipe col­lec­tion, Prue: My All-time Favourite Recipes, is packed with dishes she hopes ev­ery­one will make at home, we grilled her on her own eat­ing habits.

Your death row meal would be... Oys­ters and trea­cle tart.

The thing you still can’t make is... I’m not very good at fil­i­gree ic­ing – I wouldn’t like to make a wed­ding cake. I used to make them but it took me ages. It’s so fid­dly and I get bored. My hus­band al­ways says my food tastes fan­tas­tic but leaves some­thing for the pre­sen­ta­tion. Well, I think food should look won­der­ful be­cause it is won­der­ful, not be­cause it’s been dec­o­rated. I hate dec­o­rated food; I like food to just land on the plate and look so de­li­cious that you want to eat it.

Your favourite store cup­board es­sen­tial has to be... I couldn’t live with­out chopped toma­toes in tins, soy sauce, tinned chick­peas, frozen puff pas­try – I some­times make it if I’m re­ally feel­ing like it and I’ve got time, but mostly I get it out the freezer – and then I have frozen spinach al­ways, and frozen mash, which you might think ab­so­lutely dis­grace­ful but hon­estly, there’s some re­ally good frozen mash around.

If you get hun­gry late at night, the snack you’ll reach for is... Greek yo­ghurt with a bit of honey and a few al­monds on top.

Your sig­na­ture dish is... I should think it’s soup. I make soup out of ev­ery­thing all the time, soups and sal­ads. I make staff lunch ev­ery day, so we have a lot of soup and salad.

Prefer­ably your eggs would be... I like poached eggs and I like them soft in the mid­dle.

If you were get­ting a take­away you’d or­der... Prob­a­bly a Per­sian wrap. I don’t nor­mally like wraps - most wraps are half-cooked – but I like the Per­sian mid­dle, a bit spicy, lamb, pomegranate...

The ul­ti­mate hang­over cure has to be... Bread and but­ter – stodge.

You can­not stom­ach... I like nearly ev­ery­thing, I love hag­gis, for ex­am­ple, and I love of­fal. What I don’t like is badly cooked food. For ex­am­ple, I hate slimy por­ridge when it’s been sit­ting around and it’s slippy.

Prue: My All-time Favourite Recipes by Prue Leith is pub­lished by Blue­bird, priced £25. Pho­tog­ra­phy David Lof­tus. Avail­able now

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